Where can I find the best french pastries in L.A?
Locally: EuroPane in Pasadena, Amandine in WLA and La Maison du Pain in Central LA. EuroPane is my favorite bakery in the U.S. if you exclude a couple of personal favorites in San Francisco!
12225 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Euro Pane Bakery
950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106
La Maison Du Pain
5373 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Just a heads-up on a couple of these recs that I'm familiar with. Amandine has French hair coloring but Japanese roots. IMHO, they're very good at what they do, but I have heard an occasional mumble there where hipsters seemingly straight off the tarmack at LAX from their Paris flight have complained that something or another isn't sweet enough like in this blah-blah-blah patisserie on Rue hah-hah-hah that they just experienced on their trip in Paris... The croissant is too buttery, not buttery enough, on and on... One hipster complained about their croque madame - the egg wasn't properly poached or something like that - "like they do in Paris..." He repeated this in high volume at least four times. Their response was that although they are considered to be a French-style patisserie and cafe, that their style is interpreted through their eyes, which is Japanese...
Jin is kinda the same in that, "patisserie," is in their name, but the interpretation is through the eyes of Kristy who is Singaporean, which means, there are no rules when it comes to her creations. She's good at what she does - maybe too much so at times - but a lot of her goods are one-of-a-kind. And her culture's strong ties with Britain come through - the bulk of the menu if you dine there are tea sets for the most part.
I'll throw in a third in the same loose group - Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita. Like Amandine - French hair coloring, Japanese roots, with the hair up in a French Twist. Great attention to detail, very stylized goods, off the beaten path, and the best coffee I've had at a patisserie or bakery...
I agree wth you about Amandine's Japanese roots but the fruit of their labors is very French! I don't agree with the 'hipsters' opinions! I have had a lot of the items on their menu, everything except their egg dishes, from French Roast Coffee, Fresh OJ, most of the Pastries including the breakfast items and desserts, Sandwiches........ALL really excellent and very French!
I forgot about Jin in Venice probably because I think of it as Singaporean with a classical French touch. Same goes for Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita, I love their sweets, but to me it's Japanese with a French touch. Was it you bulavinaka that originally posted about Patisserie Chantilly? If so, ya owes my personal trainer for at least a month or two of kicking my butt! I do love their Cream Puffs, especially the Black Sesame and you are right, their Coffee is surprisingly good!
Since I've never been to Paris, I can't contend those hipsters' points, but I will take your very respected view as I think Amandine is solid as well. I guess my point being that, for instance, although those products that should be sweet are sweet, they may not be as sweet as some might prefer. Japanese kids can eat sugar endlessly, but when they grow up, they seem to lose their obsession with sweets. I sense a little of this in Amandine's goods. I personally think they achieve a good balance - some don't.
Although I'm sure I wasn't the first to post Chantilly, I have been an ardent supporter - I just love going to places that apply a razor-sharp focus on each and every detail. Maybe Chantilly can be a bit obsessive about this, but the quality shows in their goods. Sorry about the trainer - maybe you need to take him to Chantilly for payback...
This is strictly my opinion. One of the most beautiful women to have walked this earth in my book is Audrey Hepburn. I think of her in the countless photos that have been taken of her. Some of my most favorite photos are the ones from the late 50s - 60s where great effort and care was taken to compose the fashion shoots that she was in. Razor sharp in its imagery, every detail on her face and her form has been scrutinized before each photo was taken and probably slightly touched up afterwards - shear perfectionism. It is clear that a lot of effort went into creating that perfect shot... Maybe not reality but wonderfully done.
Some of my other favorite photos of her are in her more casual moments, impromptu photos taken when she was sitting in a car glancing out the window just daydreaming. Sitting in a countryside cafe, tickled as I imagine her being touched by the smile of a child. The seemingly effortless beauty of the shot belies a well-crafted effort and perfect timing on the part of the photographer.
I think some of the soul can be lost in one's efforts when things are scrutinized too far or too much. I admire Chantilly for what they do. They excel at creating pastries and desserts, using a keen eye and steady hand. Being a great pastry chef is like being an alchemist, an artist, and a whimsical animator with a steadfast determination, all in one. Keiko is the driving force behind the place - she is kichomen (a perfectionist, stickler for neatness, order, etc). Everything is put in its place. All of the counter staff appear as if they are standing at attention in their crisp uniforms, awaiting the patron's requests. Keiko's attention to detail is unquestionable and everything appears that all efforts have been spent in bringing this experience to the patron. But maybe it is my generally Western sensibilities (or faults) that makes me wish that the place be a bit less formal. I want to sense the place pulling the pin out of its French Curl and letting its hair flow down...
I think of Susina Bakery on Beverly when I think of a place that seems to have hit just the right balance of effort and charm for me. The help is cordial and engaging, the place has a warmth and charm about it from its beautiful wooden framing on its storefront to the seemingly nonchalant displays of fanciful goods. And while their pastries and desserts aren't as stylized - they do call themselves a bakery and cafe - the slightly more casualness has a certain appeal to me. I think of their Berry Blossom Cake and that sums up Susina for me - a seemingly effortless whim created this natural thing of beauty...
I have room for both places, as they are two different styles and do what they do exceptionally well. Sometimes, I want the girl with the proper upbringing that I can bring home to mom, but my eyes wander toward the girl who I can frolick in the fields with...